"Your greatest contribution to the Kingdom of God may not be something you do, but someone you raise." ~Andy Stanley

August 31, 2015

The weekend that only God could plan

Ever since Nathan moved to CA, he has wanted Zac to come and visit him. He sooo much wanted to take Zac around to his favorite beaches, mountain hikes, restaurants etc... But Zac had school and work and then he decided to propose...
So, for the past two years it hasn't worked out and now he's about to get married!

Then, Nathan, who is also the best man, bought Zac a plane ticket as a gift, to spend this past weekend with him as sort of a bachelor party! Such a sweet and generous gift. And it couldn't have been given to a more grateful guy!

But, long before they planned this, only God knew, that four days before this fun weekend started, Hubby would have the cancer return.
And that two days before the weekend, Nathan would decide to move back home!

We were all just in utter awe of the timing and how the Lord knew they would need each other this weekend and He made a way for them to be together!

So, not only did Nathan give Zac a great time, Zac was there to comfort him and help him get ready to move!

Late tonight I'm picking them up at the airport, and very soon, one will be moving out and one will be moving in. And I'm so glad they grew up to become the best of friends! It makes this mom's heart so happy!


August 29, 2015

Life is one wild ride

It is amazing to me that two and a half weeks ago our life was normal and now it has taken all these crazy twists and turns. It seems to have been turned inside out and shaken.
Never take your 'normal' for granted!

Everything is kind of a blur and it has been a very emotional week for our family.That hospital stay made it feel like time stood still, but of course, it didn't and now the calendar in my head is off. Also, I'm not sure what I have shared here and what posts I just 'wrote' in my head.

Wednesday we received some bad news at the cancer hospital and so we are clinging to the Good News of the gospel!
The esophageal cancer that Hubby had last year has moved to his lungs. I'm reminding myself that the 'stages' and the terms are man's definitions and God is above all of these! And nothing is impossible for Him.

Yesterday, Hubby started an aggressive chemo plan. You know you are in the infusion center, when you see a grown woman hugging her teddy bear and waiting for treatment.
Chemo is rough!!!
Frankly, I can't believe Hubby has to do it again. So far he feels good, but that is due to some lovely steroids that you have to take before and after. He may not be feeling well for long...
 but he SHOULD be feeling OK for Zac's wedding, which is I think, two weeks away! Thankful for that!

What makes my heart so sad about doing chemo is the fact that last time either it or the drugs changed his personality for a time. And then he went into an almost comatose kind of state for awhile and it was like he wasn't there. Then add to that the unbearable suffering we all had to witness him go through and well, you get the idea....It was awful.
So, this time I kind of know what to expect (but I'm absolutely believing for better!!!) and I feel like the guy he is, is about to leave me for an extended time and that makes me so sad...

Nathan is leaving CA and moving home to be with us for the next several months and we are all so thrilled about that. What a dear young man to put his life on hold and want to come home and serve us and spend time with his Dad. May God bless him!

Two weeks ago, when we were in the ER, a doctor came in and told us Hubby had fluid in his left lung and that it was probably caused by cancer...so I shed some tears of course, and she said some comforting things and then left. Next, the resident physician took a turn coming in and he knew we had just heard that news. But by then, I think Hubby had said something funny anyway, we were both smiling when he walked in and he was almost angry. (weirdest thing!)  And then he said "Are you _____(Hubby's full name)? Then why are you smiling?!" He was serious.
(How is that for no bed side manner, good grief?!)
But if I had to relive that situation again, I would like to have had the presence of mind to say
"Because he knows The Great Physician, Jesus!"

Even in suffering he smiles!
It is that glorious Good News that will do that to a guy!


August 26, 2015

Wednesdays in the Word

If you somehow missed Kathie Lee Gifford's tribute to her husband, Frank, last week, you have to watch it. Hubby and I watched it on FB in the hospital and cried like babies. 
It was such a beautiful presentation of the gospel!!! And so very inspiring! 


August 25, 2015

Home from the hospital and loving it!

First of all, all of you healthcare professionals out there, have my heart forever! What amazing people you are! What kindness and mercy you extend to those in pain! You chose to help people in crisis who are not at their best and sometimes far from being congenial. You rock!
~My hubby happens to be every nurses's dream patient because he is so kind, polite and calls everyone by name, no matter how much pain he is in. He's just amazing like that!

Anyway, Hubby got discharged yesterday!!! Whoo-hoo!
And when they say you can go, they mean it. They had us out the door in 15 minutes! I was shocked because when the cancer hospital discharged him it was a long process and it took hours before we were actually walking out of the door, but not at this hospital. I packed like the building was on fire and Hubby was so glad to leave, he waited for the transporter in the hallway! Bless him!

It is so good to be home, especially in light of hospital Roommate #5. But that is a story for another day. Tomorrow, he has an appointment with the cancer hospital and today he gets to rest in PEACE and QUIET!


August 22, 2015

Update on my hero

Hubby had surgery on Thursday and it went well. They drained two  and a half liters from his left lung!

Yesterday we had to send his brother (who is a stroke patient) back to their other brother in CA. We felt bad that we had to cut our caregiving turn short this way. But it was necessary.

I think this is a sweet picture. They were saying goodbye:

Today has been rough. Hubby will have a CAT scan and a blood transfusion.
Prayers appreciated!


August 19, 2015

Round 2

Yes, it is cancer...again....

So, I cried, of course. We called our kids and family and we texted our friends. Then we got some wonderful wise counsel from our pastor and we made an action plan.

After all of that I climbed in his bed and we took silly, hospital bed selfies because,
"the joy of the Lord is our strength."  : )


August 18, 2015

Still waiting for results

We are still waiting on the test results and praying it is not the reoccurrence of cancer. Nothing happens quickly in a hospital, it seems.
 Everyday we hear the word 'tomorrow.'
So, we just continue to wait ...

Hubby"s roommate, Bert, facetimed his dogs the other day! LOL
Then things really livened up when Bert's friend snuck both dogs up to the hospital room in some luggage! The nurses pretended not to notice!

Bert has since been discharged, just in time to attend his daughter's beach wedding in Malibu. Let"s hope he doesn't bring the dogs! ;)
She is having another wedding in England next year because that is where her finance is from. Can you imagine planning two weddings!? Pretty sure all the young brides-to-be that I know, are glad this is a one time thing!
Zac's big day is 23 days away! Which means we need Hubby well ASAP, in Jesus' name! Thanks for praying!


August 17, 2015

In honor of the first day of school

I've been home schooling our kids for 17 years now and I'm on the homestretch! Whoo-hoo!
-Our youngest starts 11th grade next week!
(insert shameless plug here, for Hubby to take me on a cruise after Andrew graduates!) ;)

The other day,  I found a stack of some of my favorite quotes about parenting and homeschooling that encouraged me when my kids were little and became rather near and dear to my heart on this journey:

 "Right is right even if no one is doing it! Wrong is always wrong even if everyone is doing it." 

"Boys and girls must have time to invent episodes, carry on adventures, live heroic lives, lay sieges and carry forts, even if the fortress be an old armchair, and in these affairs elders must neither meddle nor make."  ~Charlotte Mason  1907

"I give my children their best theological education by seeking to really know and love God in my own life and then living my life out before my children." ~Sally Clarkson

"People ought to exercise everyday...yet more than a third of the our children don't get an hour's worth of exercise in a week. How about parents playing a games with their children in the backyard for 30 minutes or an hour? It would be good fort he parent, and its's good for the family." ~ Former President George W. Busch

"Trust God with the design of our children and allow them to be who God made them to be. By accepting them we affirm God's excellent design. Don't expect a monkey to act like a butterfly or a buffalo to behave like a mouse." ~Sally Clarkson

"Each day of our lives we make deposits in the memory banks of our children." ~ Charles Swindoll

"What you do in your house is worth as much as if you did it up in heaven for our Lord God. We should accustom ourselves to think of our position and work as sacred and well pleasing to God, not on account of the position and work, but on account of the Word and faith from which the obedience and the work flow." ~Martin Luther

"When you love and obey Jesus, you will have joy. When  you have joy in our heart, you will be filled with the Spirit of God. When the Spirit of God fills  your household, you will have absolutely no trouble being a relaxed, joyful, and enthusiastic homeschooling mom!" ~Mary Hood

"Make a habit of saying out loud, many times a day, 'I am so thankful for my sweet little girl. I want to praise God He gave me a fine son like you. Thank God He has blessed us with a daddy who takes care of us. God has made such a beautiful day, let's run outside and say 'thank you' to God. Let's thank God for all the different kinds of food He's given us.' Let your life be made up of thankfulness, your mind full of appreciation, your words crowded with praise, your countenance beaming with joy...Your children will hunger and thirst to walk with your Savior." ~Debi Pearl

"Don't our children need to learn how to cook, clean, sew, grocery shop, care for others, plan a household budget, pay bills, work on the car, make home repairs, garden, mow the lawn, and so on? I used to feel guilty if I took time from academics to teach my children some of these skills. I thought I was depriving them of a good education, but in reality a well-rounded education encompasses real-life skills. I was apprehensive about training them in these less academic areas because I had nothing tangible, such as written piece of work , to show that I was indeed instructing my child. If my child spent forty-five minutes on a math page, I then had proof that education was taking place. But if my children spent two hours planning and preparing a meal, there was nothing tangible to represent this as education, although many skills are necessary to perform this task....
Have your older child plan the family meals for a week. You can record this as Dietary Planning. Do your children like to draw, make art projects, paper crafts and so on? Log theses as Creative Expression or Art. Do your children clip coupons and help you grocery shop? This is Food Budget Analysis and Planning. Do  your children fold laundry, sweep floors, clean tables, dust, make beds, vacuum, clean bathrooms, practice an instrument, play ball, ride bikes, skate..if the answer is 'yes' to any of these then you can devise a category to log these educational experiences...If they sit and around and watch TV or play video games, then your logbook may be nearly blank, but if they are involved in real-life activities, even on a day when schoolwork isn't implemented, you should be able to just about fill a page with the educational activities of each of your children..." ~Valerie Bendt

For those of you home educating older students, please visit this post where Sally Clarkson quotes what a CEO is looking for in a college graduate and this article called "How My Mother Homschooled Me without Screwing up My Life" -Good stuff!!! : )


August 16, 2015

Praying for an infection, as weird as that sounds

During the last couple of weeks my Hubby hasn't been feeling very well. But, he is painting in the HEAT of August in Florida and that is too much for many men. Even before his cancer battle, it wasn't uncommon for him to come home from work totally wiped out in the summer.
He confessed that he's been overdoing it lately though, and that, I knew!
He felt like he injured himself this week by doing too much lifting. On Thursday, he could only work for a couple hours in the field and then had to go work in the office. On Friday, he couldn't go to work at all and on Saturday he had to stay in bed. He was pale and he was having shortness of breath from just talking. It reminded me of when he had fluid around his heart, so I called the cancer hospital. They thought it could be that again or maybe a blood clot and said to go to an ER ASAP. So, that is where we spent our Saturday afternoon. And sometime around 11:00 PM they admitted him.
Thankfully, he didn't have fluid around his heart. Yay! That pericardioal window surgery was something else! And we never want to repeat that. Ever. 
It turned out to be fluid in his left lung. And it was just about completely FULL. Having watched them drain it (yuck!) I can tell you, that was A LOT of fluid. It looked like a liter and a half! I was so shocked I took a picture. -He teased me that I'm rather disturbing about taking photos like that! But he is the one who is now texting it to his friends. LOL!

His doctor said: "In August, in this heat. How did you ever paint with one lung?" 
And that is the question of the day! 
He's been working his heart out basically with only one functioning lung! 
He answered "Pure determination! I'm determined to provide for my wife and children." 
(insert some crying emojis here)  
 He's amazing! 
I can't even imagine how he's done it! 

So, the fluid is gone now, and they are testing the fluid. 
One doctor said that it could be the return of the cancer and another doctor said he thinks it could've been caused by an infection. Hubby said he's never hoped for an infection more in his life! Amen!
Praying it is that


August 14, 2015

All our kids under one roof

We've had a wonderful time with Nathan!
The week of the wedding was crazy with events, but this week has been relaxing and fun.

Monday, all four of the kids and I went to the beach and it was a gorgeous day! It never even rained! But they all take after their dad, so after only one hour they were ready to head home! ; )
Nathan's had lots of coffee/lunch dates with friends and spent as much time as he could with Zac when he wasn't working. He and Hubby went out to dinner together Tuesday night and then spent another hour in the car talking in our driveway.
After riding with him once, I've had to remind him that this is a "slow southern state" so that he doesn't get a ticket!
He's helped Uncle Phil buy a new iPad and set it up.
Unfortunately, he had to avoid Joy! -She has strep throat and will be contagious for one more day until those antibiotics kick in. She's been quarantined to the family room and when she comes out Hubby (who doesn't want to catch it) calls out "Unclean!" like she has leprosy. ; ) Bless her heart!
I made Nathan his favorite meal last night. Boy, are adult kids who live on their own fun to cook for! Very appreciative! LOL
I added this Greek salad to go with the meatball casserole that he loves and everyone raved over it. Here is the recipe. Tonight Nathan is cooking for us and in the morning he heads home to CA.
This mom's heart is full!
I'm excited that we get to do it all over again in a few weeks for Zac's wedding! Yay!


August 12, 2015

Wednesdays in the Word

"When you are the neediest, 
He is the most sufficient. 

When you are completely helpless.
He is absolutely dependable.

 When you are the weakest,
 He is the most able.

When you are the most alone,
He is intimately present.

When you feel you are the least,
He is the greatest.

When you feel the most useless,
He is preparing you.

When it is the darkest,
He is the only Light you need.

When you feel the least secure,
He is your Rock and Fortress. 

When you are the most humble,
He is the most gracious." ~Author Unknown

August 11, 2015

Last Family Day

We had one last Family Day together while Nathan is home, and before Zac gets married.

We went to Downtown Disney and walked around the shops, saw a Marvel movie and had lunch, which turned out to be dinner.

It was SO HOT that we had to soak up some A/C in Starbucks lest we die! ; )

Hubby wasn't feeling his best and the heat didn't help. As always, he is my hero.

This was a beautiful sight on the way home!

Thankfully we all agree it was better than "Nathan's Last Family Day" before he moved! -That was the worst Family Day ever otherwise known as Bonding in the Back of a Bus! ; )

Here's hoping that maybe the next kiddo who leaves home will do it in the winter...but not for several years, please! : )


August 10, 2015

The wedding fun

This weekend our boys' best friend, since middle school, got married.
-Hubby and I joked with him how the days of sleepovers at our house are over now. ; )

We felt so honored to be at the rehearsal dinner and celebrate with their precious families whom we love. It was fun to hear our boys join in giving short speeches. -All weekend long people have been telling us that the way Nathan speaks and his mannerism are SO much his dad's that they can't get over it! Yes, he has always been a mini version of his awesome dad!

The ceremony was gorgeous! Nathan and Zac were both groomsmen and Tiffany was a bridesmaid because she and the bride are also best friends.

There were just too many favorite parts of this day to even describe!

It has been a blessing to watch this godly, young couple grow up, do things God's way and commit their lives to each other forever. It was pure joy to celebrate with them!

And these two are next! -One month from today!  : )


August 7, 2015

Thumbs up on the photos

I'm happy to announce that my THUMBS were the only thing in yesterday's photo-shoot! LOL

I think the photographer finally realized that a photo of me for a story about my hubby didn't really make sense. So, he decided to take a photo of me holding all the cards that Hubby received from Samaritan Ministries during his cancer battle...and that is how I lucked out! ; )


August 6, 2015

The craziest thing happened during the craziest week

I can't remember if I've mentioned here that we are members of Samaritan Ministries and that they have been a huge blessing in our lives especially in light of recent events with my Hubby's health. But we are and we have been for over 20 years and they are awesome!

Healthcare being the big issue that it is right now, a reporter in our area called Samaritan to do a story on their ministry and Samaritan called me and asked if I would do an interview with this reporter. For some reason, I actually said 'yes,' but I was totally THINKING that Hubby and I would make a time to meet with this reporter in person and that my Hubby would do all the talking. LOL  : ) (because that's how I roll!)
But this reporter wanted to do it on the spot on the phone! And so that is how I ended up getting interviewed for a story that will be in Sunday's paper! Ahhh!

Reporters are persistent people and this one wouldn't take "We don't have time to be photographed until Saturday" for an answer. And so that is also how I am now waiting for a photographer to come to my house and take my picture ALONE!

When you only have a few hours notice about this kind of thing you know you can't redecorate your house first! I almost went and bought some cute throw pillows instead but either the voice of my Hubby or the Holy Spirit was saying "Get a grip, Girl." ; )

If it was up to me, I'd be hiding under my bed right about now.
Because...."Hello, my child is shy."
That's a quote from the movie Kicking and Screaming that my hubby likes to change to "Hello, my wife is shy." : )
I am not even close to being in my comfort zone right now. But I do a lot of singing in church about how
"You make me brave"
"You make me brave"  : )
So, maybe God is up to something and maybe this story will give God glory and people hope. That has been my prayer since I got into this mess yesterday.

Not to mention that it is happening in the middle of the time when Nathan is here and he and I are running all over town getting him ready for the wedding that he is in on Saturday!

If they spin this story in a way that I have not intended, then I may just be really hiding under my bed on Sunday and hoping that not even my couponing friends buy papers that day. ; )
Help me, Jesus!


August 5, 2015

Wednesdays in the Word

Jesus spoke Saul/Paul's purpose and mission in life to him the moment they met.

I think it is worth borrowing as our own.

"...I now send you to open their eyes
 in order to turn them 
from darkness to light 
and from the power of Satan to God,
that they may receive forgiveness of sins 
and an inheritance among those who are sanctified
 by faith in Me." 

Acts 25:17-18

Have a great day!


August 3, 2015

Rain, rain, go away...

So, this is day #20 of rain for us. Not the refreshing rain we usually get during the summer months in FL, but rain that lasts for hours on end! Every.Single.Day!
We are all about to float away!

Hubby and I took Andrew out to dinner with us on Friday to hear all about his summer! : ) Sounds like it was an awesome experience.

Sunday night he was asked to play electric guitar in church for the first time ever. (his favorite!) Usually, he plays the bass.
I love watching him do what he loves
for the One he loves! : )

Nathan comes home tonight and I can't wait! If I thought Andrew was gone too long, Nathan hasn't been home in 7 months! Hubby still had cancer when he was here last and Zac wasn't even in engaged! A lot has happened in those months!
Can't wait to see Nathan's sweet face!

Hoping all this rain doesn't delay his flight! And we may have to find an alternate route to the airport because this morning the highway had some flooding!